Airport aims for five million

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Queenstown Airport will need a new terminal to accommodate passenger movements which may be capped at five million a year by 2045, airport bosses say.

Wanaka Airport might also be developed as a “dual airport” to take some pressure off Queenstown.

A master plan for the airport for the next 30 years was released by Queenstown Airport Corporation yesterday.

Airport boss Colin KeelĀ asks the community to imagine what the resort would look like in 30 years.

Forecasting shows passenger movements, arrivals and departures, would reach seven million a year.

That equated to about 3.5 million residents or visitors moving through the airport.

The airport company has decided that number is “not a sustainable growth figure for Queenstown Airport”.

Keel: “It’s potential growth. It doesn’t have to happen if we don’t want it to.”

Instead, the airport is planning for five million passenger movements.

“It’s a big conclusion. It says we’re actually thinking about the visitor experience [and] the community living here.

“Hopefully that resonates with the community.”

Passenger movements at present are climbing to about two million.

A “dual airport” option with Wanaka might also be considered.

Queenstown Airport’s master plan does not envisage extensions to the runway for wide-bodied aircraft, nor changes to consented operating hours – 6am to 10pm.

One option is expanding the current terminal. But that would cope only with up to 3.2 million passenger movements.

A second option is to build a new terminal south of the runway. The third is to relocate the terminal to the north of the runway.

Those options would allow for up to 5.1 million passenger movements a year.

All three options included a new partial heavy parallel taxiway, allowing for more capacity on the runway.

All require the purchase of additional land, including contentious Lot 6, owned by Remarkables Park, but sought by the airport company.

While the Environment Court found in the airport’s favour earlier this year, that decision has been appealed to the High Court.

Under the third option the airport would also need to acquire more land to the north.

Keel says “various options” are being considered to acquire the land.

Airport representatives would be travelling around the region over the next two months to meet tourism, business and community groups, as well as holding “fly-in” visits for the public.

The master plan is available through Queenstown Airport’s website. Feedback closes on November 30.

Otago Daily Times